Halloween—the time for people to indulge in the spookier side of things. A large portion of the populous enjoys watching horror movies with friends, dressing up in various costumes and overall just having a fun time messing around with the general scary aesthetic of it all. However, some people do enjoy having a more realistic, visceral experience during Halloween, and haunted houses are the perfect way in which to do just that.
In this case, haunted houses refer to the horror attraction, not an actual location haunted by spirits. While actual terrifying locations and popular places for urban exploration are occasionally visited, I think that it’s best to shine a spotlight on the pay-to-visit attractions that are all around the United States.
Here are two incredible haunted houses in the US, as well as one notorious entry that may have more to it than meets the eye!
- The Dent Schoolhouse
This attraction is based upon an old schoolhouse where it is rumored that a murderous janitor haunts the facility, along with other equally terrifying monsters. The location is well known, by far one of the most popular haunted houses available to visit, and consistently rakes in new people who are ready to be terrified of what the schoolhouse has in store for them.
The location itself has many events going on throughout the fall season, from “A Christmas Nightmare,” where the costumed employees are decked out in Christmas themed horror gear, to “Ghost tours,” where groups of people are toured around the location for nearly an hour!
The Dent Schoolhouse can be found in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is well known among locals as a delightfully scary place to spend Halloween!
- The 13th Gate
This location is immense; the size of it cannot be understated. It’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and spans across a massive 40,000 square feet with multiple locations that visitors are able to go to. The costume and set designs are incredibly detailed, almost Hollywood-like in appearance. The actors at this location are more than experienced and capable of terrifying even the most seasoned horror fans.
Another fun aspect of The 13th Gate is the fact that there’s a horror-themed carnival adjacent to the location. The carnival is named, appropriately, Carnevil and is open to visitors who may want a little more horror after their run through The 13th Gate.
- McKamey Manor
Now, compared to the other locations, this one is far more visceral. It originally advertised itself as a real survival horror experience, where people could experience something tangentially similar to what their favorite horror movie protagonists had. It seems like a good idea in theory, but the experiences that visitors discuss, it becomes darker.
First off, visitors are required to sign liability waivers in case something dangerous occurs to them during their time at the manor. It’s been critiqued by visitors and professionals alike for using forms of physical and mental torture against visitors. The entire length of the walkthrough is approximately eight hours, and visitors can opt-out at any time.
It’s an incredibly popular location despite this, with the waiting list being thousands of people long, but no one has yet been able to last the entire eight hours.
Some things that may occur to visitors are waterboarding, physical violence from employees, forced food consumption and even drugging in a few cases. One visitor, Laura Hertz Brotherton, had to be hospitalized after her experience in the manor.
These cases have combined to form a foul reputation, and people are critiquing the manor as a torture house instead of a haunted house. However, the manor remains standing to this day, allowing more visitors during the proper hours. This, personally, is astonishing to me. I don’t have any say in the business, however, so all I can do is just watch from afar and try not to think about the inner workings of McKamey Manor.
And there it is! Two popular haunted house attractions that you should visit if you’re interested, and one location that probably isn’t the best for anyone who wants to remain fully intact afterward!